Invention, Innovation & Imagination: JFK’s Space Program Exhibit at Logan Airport

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(Photo courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum)

John F. Kennedy continues to inspire. The 35th president of the United States (1961-63) was a proud native son of Massachusetts whose leadership, vision and courage continue to inspire the nation and the world.

The U.S. Space Program was one of President Kennedy’s most lasting initiatives and is the focus of a new exhibit aptly titled, “Invention, Innovation and Imagination.” The multimedia installation, a joint collaboration between the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum and the Massachusetts Port Authority, is located at Terminal A at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

For history lovers, the exhibit brings to bear the cold war era of the 1960s, when the United States and the Soviet Union were vying to reach the moon first. On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy appealed to the Americans’ spirit of adventure, to patriotic pride, and to the cause of freedom, saying: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”

The wall graphics celebrate the innovation economy in New England by highlighting numerous innovations that resulted from the U.S. Space Program. One of the compelling elements is an audio of President Kennedy’s famous speech challenging the nation to put a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s.

Heather Campion, CEO of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, said, “Not only did his challenge to Americans and stewardship of the Space Program land a man on the moon in just eight years, but it resulted in several significant scientific advancements that are staples to us today, including GPS, protective firefighting gear and our ability to harness solar energy.”

Thomas P. Glynn, CEO of Massport, said the exhibit is part of the airport’s public art program “aimed at stimulating passengers and providing a sense of place. This exhibit reminds us how President Kennedy motivated the nation to push the limits of science and technology. That motivation has continued ever since with great results here in Massachusetts.”

This installation is first piece in three-phase collaboration between JFK Library Foundation and Logan Airport. Plans for future installations include visuals designed to encourage children to pursue science and volunteerism, and an installation highlighting President Kennedy’s call for global citizenship.

Located in East Boston, Logan Airport is the region’s largest transportation center, generating $7 billion in economic activity each year.  The JFK Library & Museum is located at Columbia Point in Dorchester preserves and provides access to historical materials related to President Kennedy and his times.

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